As a blogger, don’t box me in

In my experience, the most interesting blogs are often the most difficult to categorize. The authors feel free to write about what they fancy. A lawyer may blog about a current trial, a favorite movie, a good band. An obvious example is popular blogger Ernie the Attorney. He writes about law, technology, music, spirituality, economics, politics, marketing, New Orleans — in short, life as he sees it. To a lesser extent, I think of myself this way. I started this blog to track new and interesting Web sites. Over the years, I’ve generally stuck to formula, but I also write about technology, marketing, media relations, legal news, family, music and, well, whatever I feel like writing about.

So I was disappointed to see one aspect of the redesigned home page of First, let me say loudly and clearly that I like the redesign overall. It is much cleaner than before and does a better job of guiding the reader to’s full range of features.

Second, let me say that I do not intend to bite the hand that feeds me. I coauthor’s Legal Blog Watch and receive payment for my contributions. This blog is a member of its Blog Network.

All of that said, I was very surprised to see that the redesigned site now lists blogs by categories instead of by blog names, as it did before. This blog is listed under the category “Legal News and Headlines.” I am not listed under “Legal Tech,” even though I would consider that a major focus of mine. I am not listed under “Small Firm,” even though I am a solo lawyer. I am not listed under “Practice Management,” even though I often write about marketing, PR and management topics and consult with clients on these topics. Justin Patten’s blog, Human Law, is listed under the category, “Practice Areas,” even though “human law” is not, of itself, a recognizable focus of law practice. May It Please the Court is listed as “Legal News and Headlines,” even though J. Craig Williams writes frequently about law practice, appellate cases, technology and practice management.

My assumption is that these categories were added as an aid to the reader, to help them select blogs of interest. My fear is that these categories will steer readers away from blogs they might otherwise investigate. The best blogs often defy categorization. By attempting to box them in, this redesign does its readers a disservice, in my opinion.

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  • It will be interesting to see if traffic to the blogs in the Blog Network falls off as a result of the change. Please let us know how that goes.

    Since the categories are on a fly-out menu instead of on the home page itself, would not be “mucking up” the home page by listing each blog by name.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a “legal” blog that’s tough to categorize:
    It’s memoirs of a retired trial judge, “courthouse” poems, and much more. Check it out.